08-31-2011, 05:21 AM
jrodefeld jrodefeld is offline
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Hello everyone,

This is a follow up on a previous thread. I want some advice from the resident experts (specifically admin and lordsmurf) about how they would use a detailer in a project to capture a couple dozen VHS tapes of varying quality. As you know from my previous thread, my equipment is a JVC SR-V10U player, a Cypress CTB-100 TBC and a Vidicraft Vidimate VDM-300S detailer/proc amp.

From some comments, and my own experience has born this out, it seems as if the detail and outline knobs on this Vidicraft unit tend to do more harm than good in many cases on many of my tapes. On the other hand, I have heard many people swear to the benefit of a detailer on most VHS tapes. In many cases it appears to simply add noise and halos to images making them look artificial.

I would like to know how the experts here use a detailer when capturing VHS tapes. Perhaps I am not really using it right. The JVC S-VHS player really cleans up tapes better than I expected with its various filters. I really want to capture the footage as "cleanly" as possible and then experiment with software filtering later. A concern I have with using the detailer functions is that I will mess up the image I am capturing and I can't easily fix it without recapturing all my footage all over again.

Could you give me your thoughts and suggestions in using a detailer when capturing VHS tapes? Thanks a lot.
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09-06-2011, 03:58 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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it seems as if the detail and outline knobs on this Vidicraft unit tend to do more harm than good in many cases on many of my tapes.
It really depends on the content of your tapes. As per other posts in this forum, from Site Staff and long-time video hobbyists alike, the detailers are best used on high quality analog sources like S-VHS in SP mode, VHS in SP mode, or Laserdiscs. Even then, a grainy video may look worse, "crunchy" as some have described it in the past, and not sharper. It's all about content.

It also helps to be gentle. Don't crank the knobs up like a heavy metal garage band turning on speakers. Be very nuanced about it, like a maestro perfecting his equipment before a wind ensemble recording session.

I have heard many people swear to the benefit of a detailer on most VHS tapes.
It comes down to two issues:
1. They just don't know any better, victims of their own poor video playback/preview situation. Or even their own eyesight.
2. They've not learned yet. Too many people overdo restoration. For example, overdoing NR so badly that the image looks plastic.

I've not used a detailer here in probably 2 months. Nothing has been helped by it, though it's been tested several times. In each case, the video's grain was simply amplified, rather than the in-image detail. However, earlier this year, a detailer was most valuable in a project involving 100+ tapes.

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09-10-2011, 10:17 PM
robjv1 robjv1 is offline
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It took me a long, long time to get it right. I cringe when I look back at the first captures I did with my SignVideo DR-1000 (also a detailer). They are SO noisy, it looks like someone has added a fine grain to the video. I was cranking it up on everything VHS -- SP, LP, EP, commercial masters, home movies, you name it. Now, I very rarely use the detail knob at all, and never crank sharpness up past 4 (out of 11). It really is most useful on SP commercial masters, where a little of sharpening enhances the perception of detail in the picture. I really think of it as a way of counteracting the effects of capturing with a DVD recorder -- like a preemptive, high-frequency boost. For some tapes, it's a beautiful tool and for others it just amplifies the noise to the point where it becomes very noticeable.
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